Day One Hundred Thirty-Four

The alarm went off at 5:30 and I got up to turn off the second one in the kitchen that was set to go off two minutes later. I knew that exercise would do me much more good than lying in bed and barely sleeping, but I wasn’t able to act on it today. Not only did I go back to bed, I stayed there until 8:00 and went in to work late.

For a year or two there back around 2004 I was getting up at 5:00 AM every day, regardless of when I went to bed. There was a one-year period when I failed to rise at 5:00 about three or four times. I was a machine.

So what’s changed?

Well, the first thing that comes to mind is the blood pressure medicine I started taking in late 2006. That threw me for a loop. Holding that bottle in my hand, I could no longer deny my mortality. Ever since then I’ve been playing mind games with myself: “This medicine has changed my body, so I shouldn’t beat myself up for not being able to do everything I used to do. But what if I’m just using that as a crutch to *avoid* doing the things I used to do?” ‘Round and ’round.

But that’s a story for another day, because today was unambiguous: I know that I could have gotten up; I know that getting up would have been better for me in every way; and I didn’t get up.

I need to relearn my old techniques. I need to cultivate that blend of mule-headed stubbornness and inexorable logic that persists as a stable bubble within the murky emotions of an animal that was just wakened before sunrise. I need that imperious voice that drives me to follow the plan when everything else in me just wants to slide under the covers.

But back to today: I ate my usual morning egg sandwich, threw my walking clothes and some fruit into my backpack, and made my winding way to work. I had a very busy day, following my diet in the face of a preposterous array of temptation. I ate my standard Zone Bar with tea at 11:00, big green salad around 2:00 and a small handful of nuts and raisins at 4:30.

After work I ate an apple and an orange from my pack as I walked north along the west side, over the High Line, and east to Broadway. Just before meeting Grace, I ate a Zone Bar with some Earl Grey tea I bought at a bodega. We hung out in Manhattan for a bit and then headed to Grand Central. During our train ride home we shared an orange and some carrots with hummus.

In short, the day had its ups and downs: I didn’t get up early to exercise, but I did a good job of preparing to eat right and get what exercise I could during an evening on the town.

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